Hopkins vs Dawson II: Chad Dawson Conference Call Transcript

Chad Dawson wants to end the career of Bernard Hopkins this Saturday in Atlantic City. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

This Saturday night on HBO from Atlantic City, Bernard Hopkins defends the light heavyweight world championship in a rematch against Chad Dawson, following their controversial and much-discussed October fight in Los Angeles. Below, Dawson speaks to the media on a conference call about the fight, his training, and fighting in Atlantic City for the first time.

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Chad Dawson
How's everybody doing? I'd like to thank Gary Shaw, Golden Boy, HBO for putting on the fight. I'm just excited and I'm just happy we get to do this one more time. Hopefully this time we'll give the fans what they want to see, a real fight.

Q
I have to tell you, that Tomasz Adamek fight, I think that was one of your best fights ever. Even though you got knocked down you came back stronger. You became focused and you kept that fight and you controlled the pace.

Hopkins has a habit, of course, of bullying fighters. He comes in there and he gets into your head mentally. He'll punch, clench, make cute little moves. How are you going to stay-and you've seen that in the first fight-how are you going to stay focused on this fight? How are you going to control the fight from the beginning to the end?

C. Dawson
By just being me. I think the last fight I didn't get a lot of credit for being the aggressor and being the one that tried to press the fight. Bernard backed up the first two rounds, even though there were only two rounds, but I was the aggressor. I was pressing the fight. I tried to get Bernard to fight, but he didn't show any signs that he wanted to fight until the fight was over. So, I mean I plan on going out there, using my jab, using my hinge speed, my youth, and winning the fight.

Q
And kind of a follow up to that too, Bernard still at the same time is remarkable being 47 years old and doing what he does and coming there with a young man, as yourself, who's 29. What kind of kudos do you give Bernard Hopkins for being in the game at this stage and what he's been able to accomplish against world-class opponents?

C. Dawson
I mean like I tell everybody else, I admire everything he's done in the sport of boxing over the last few years, you now, becoming the oldest world champion. Those are the things you can't take away from Bernard Hopkins. You can't take that away from him. The only thing I have to do is go out there and dethrone him. I want to become the world champion. I want the same recognition that Bernard gets. So, on the 28th that's what I'm going out to get.

Q
Gary, I've got a quick question for you. I know you were dissatisfied when the WBC ordered the rematch. And the money back then, Bernard Hopkins got paid $1 million. Chad's purse was $800,000. How is the money different this time?

G. Shaw
I worked hard to get Chad this mandatory rematch or there's not a chance that Hopkins would've gotten in the ring with him. We had to take short money because that was the ruling by the WBC, but Chad knows that we may take short money this time but this is the last fight. This is the end of Hopkins.

Hopkins won't even do a press conference with Chad. He wouldn't do a one-on-one with Max Kellerman and Chad. He won't do a real press conference with Chad. That tells you all that you have to know about this fight.

Q
And Richard, one question for you sir, too, as we were saying, Bernard has been an exceptional athlete fighting at 47. Do you have plans for him past this fight win or lose?

R. Schaefer
I'm going to be sitting with Bernard after the fight and see how he feels and then we're going to go from there. For big fights you really don't make any plans, I don't think. You just see what happens and then you deal with it.

Q
Chad, in that first fight I know it only lasted not even two full rounds, but in those two rounds it seemed like you were beginning to establish some control of the fight. Do you think that when this fight starts that your mentality will be to sort of try to pick up exactly where you left off? Sort of taking it to him and fighting with a little bit of kind of a chip on your shoulder?

C. Dawson
Yea. I mean the way the last fight ended; I could only take as a confidence builder because I really don't believe Bernard Hopkins was hurt. He showed that he really didn't want to be in the ring with me that night. So it's a confidence booster for me and I want to go in there on the 28th and I want to pick up right where we left off. Be the aggressor. I want to make him fight and hopefully we can give the fans what they came to see the last time, a real fight.

Q
Gary's made it very clear he doesn't believe that Bernard was injured. You've stated that multiple times today during this call, many times. If that's the case, why do you suppose that Bernard, with his age, his stature, all the money that he's made, his name, you know he could've maybe looked elsewhere. If he really wasn't hurt, why do you suppose then he took this rematch with you when, even though it was mandatory because of the belt, he really didn't have to do that if he didn't want to being where he is in the sport?

C. Dawson
I guess it's all about his legacy. I mean if I was him, I wouldn't want to go out on a bad note like that. I wouldn't want to have anybody saying that you're ducking this guy. So, I'm not going to say he's scared because I don't believe any fighter is scared. If any man gets in the ring with another man they're not a scared person. But if you look at the last fight, he said he dislocated his shoulder but we didn't see any weakness in his shoulder. We didn't see any doctor's notes or anything like that.

So like I said, my confidence is through the roof right now, you know, and I'm looking forward to going out there on the 28th. I'm looking forward to becoming a world champion once again.

G. Shaw
They didn't want the fight. They lobbied against the fight, but I won on the floor of the WBC convention. That's why Hopkins is taking it, because without the belt, Hopkins is just an old fighter. So he needs that belt to be someone. He'll lose it on April 28th.

Q
I was just going to ask you, Richard, if you had anything to say.

R. Schaefer
This is ridiculous. I was recently at Bernard's house. Bernard has more belts than all the people have to hold up their pants. And so the fact is that Bernard at this point, at 47-48 years old, doesn't need any belts. He could have gone and fought Shumenov for the WBA belt. He could have gone and fought Clevery, a youth showdown in the U.K. with huge crowds. I mean there were so many other options, but this is what Bernard Hopkins is.

I mean this exactly shows again the kind of fighter Bernard Hopkins is. He never turns down a challenge. Everybody felt that he was going to not fight him again, and guess what? He always does the unexpected. He even surprises Gary Shaw and Chad Dawson. And if Gary thinks that the result of Bernard taking the fight is because of some silly ruling from the WBC, he is mistaken. And he knows that.

G. Shaw
Richard, I love you, but that's not true. We chased Hopkins for three years and we only got him in because of what happened with the Pascal fight, and you know that.

R. Schaefer
Well because he was in bigger fights where he made more money, that's why, and then he got it. Bernard Hopkins could've gotten a TV date whether he fights Chad Dawson or not. You know that and everybody on the line knows that.

It doesn't really matter. The fact is you know just because the WBC rules something that doesn't mean everybody has to follow, but Bernard wanted the fight and took the fight. He was not obligated, wasn't forced into it.

Q
Thank you, gentlemen. Chad, Bernard's age has been a big topic here. He's 47. I think it was pretty clear that you were doing very well in the first couple of rounds before the aborted ending of the fight. Is the biggest statement that you can make in this fight to knock out Bernard Hopkins and end his career?

C. Dawson
That would be a big statement to make. Due to the fact that he's never been knocked out before, I can't say that I'm going in there looking for the knockout. I had a great training camp. We've been in training camp seven weeks already and everything's been great. We've worked on a lot of different things.

We know Bernard is not going to come in the same fighter he was the last fight. We know he's a little stronger than he was the last fight. I hope Bernard comes to fight. He took the fight. He wanted the fight. So hopefully we'll be fighting on the 28th and we'll get our fans their money's worth.

Q
Very good. By the way, you're still with Scully for this fight correct?

C. Dawson
Yes.

Q
The fact that Bernard is from Philadelphia and has fought in Atlantic City for like 16 or 17 times, is there any concern on your part or on your camps part that there's some sort of hometown advantage that he might enjoy?

C. Dawson
No concern at all. No concern at all.

G. Shaw
No, his promoter was on the board of New Jersey for a lot of years.

Q
Yes, I know that.

G. Shaw
Okay, so that should answer it.

R. Schaefer
What do you mean by that, Gary? Could you elaborate?

G. Shaw
Sure. I mean that nobody has an advantage. Bernard's from Philly and I had a relationship with the State of New Jersey. So we're all even.

Q
I just meant as far as like-I would imagine that Bernard's going to have fan support and whether you think that that might sway the judges refereeing, unintentionally of course, but could it be a factor? Chad or Gary?

C. Dawson
I'm not worried about that at all. We're not worried about that at all. We've never even brought that up. That's never been a topic of discussion with us. We're just looking forward to going out there on the 28th and becoming a world champion once again. I'm confident in my abilities. I know what's going to happen on the 28th. If Bernard comes to fight, then the fans will get a great fight.

Q
On a similar note, being from Connecticut, relatively close, why is that you've never fought in Atlantic City? It just didn't work out that way?

C. Dawson
I guess it just never worked out. I don't know what it is, but I've got the opportunity now and I hope a lot of my fans and family get to come and watch me laugh.

Q
My question for you, Chad, and I also have a question for Richard Schaefer as well, but Chad, Bernard Hopkins seems to have a way against younger fighters. He beat Kelly Pavlik; He beat Antonio Tarver and all those guys. How do you plan to counteract him and what types of problems does he present to say younger guys as yourself?

C. Dawson
I don't know because I can't compare myself to other young guys. I think I'm fully different from all the other young guys he's beaten. I have more will. I'm definitely smarter. I know Bernard's been around the game for a long time. I know he knows all the tricks and all of the tactics and everything, but I'm not worried about that. Like I keep saying, if Bernard comes to fight on the 28th then the fans will get a great fight and I will be the one who comes out on top.

Q
My other question is for Richard. How do you explain Bernard Hopkins' popularity? Is it a matter of that there are no other younger fighters in the game with the kind of drawing power, the start power that he has or is it just that Bernard Hopkins is still that fascination in boxing that we have today?

R. Schaefer
Well you know I think if you look at the kind of fights and fighters Bernard fought and won, like De La Hoya, Trinidad, Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik, Roy Jones, and the list goes on and on, pretty much any and every big name, which was in or around his weight class over the past 20 years, he has fought and he has won against. So I think that sort of like is what built the status he has, which is a legendary status.

And the fact that he did make history to beat George Foreman's record to become the oldest champion ever, I think you add all of these things together and people are taking notice that this is something very special, a very special athlete that we are seeing here, and I think that is what makes Bernard Hopkins so popular.

Q
Coming into your fight, Bernard had an incredible he had an incredible record against south paws. It was 10-1 with five knockouts and one no contest, but the one guy who beat him, controversially, and Hopkins still thinks that he won the fight, was Joe Calzaghe.

And I interviewed him before the fight and I asked him, "Do you believe that Hopkins is going to win?" And he said, "My heart says Hopkins will win on points but my head says Chad Dawson will beat him on points or maybe even late round stoppage. My heart wants Bernard to win on points, but my head says Dawson will beat him." What do you think he saw that many other people didn't see thinking that you were going to beat him, perhaps even worse than what happened with him?

C. Dawson
I mean Joe Calzaghe was a great fighter, but me and Joe Calzaghe are two different fighters. We're both southpaws, but Calzaghe uses his hand speed. I use my hand speed too, but my punches mean something. My punches count. My punches hurt. Joe Calzaghe was more of slapper with his punches. There wasn't that much power on his punches but he threw a lot of punches.

I mean I have every advantage. I got the fire in my eyes and people saw that at the last fight. I really wanted to go out and I really wanted to beat Bernard Hopkins. Bernard had other plans. I'm going to keep saying this; Bernard did not want to be in the ring with me that night. Maybe he undertrained and he didn't expect to see what he saw that night. Maybe he needed more time to get in better shape. I don't know, but I'm here and I'm for real and I'm coming to fight.

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(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Q
I'm sure now maybe some more than others believe it, but going into the fight you were saying a lot of the things you're saying now. That he was ducking you and that kind of thing. Do you think that regardless of what the result was the last time, do you think now that you're getting more credit for being the fighter that you thought you were going into that fight?

C. Dawson
I don't know. I don't know. I don't really listen to things like that. I just know what I can do and I know what happened that night. I looked into Bernard's eyes that night and Bernard did not want to be in the ring that night. He may tell you otherwise and Richard Schaefer may say otherwise but I'm telling you, Bernard didn't want to be in the ring that night.

Like I said, maybe he undertrained and he underestimated me. Maybe he needed a little more time to get in a little better shape. Maybe that's what he did by taking the rematch. He wanted to get in better shape then he came into that fight, but he didn't have that fire that night.

Q
Was the decision to reunite with John Scully because there was a style that you liked earlier in your career and you wanted to get back to that particular style of fighting?

C. Dawson
Yes that was the main reason I switched. I wanted to become myself again. Me being with so many different trainers, I think that kind of derailed my own style and going all of these different ways. One trainer wanted me to work on this and another trainer think I'm better at this so I should be working on that.

Well Scully is different because Scully knows all of my strengths. So we add to that. I've known Scully since I was 12 years old. I sparred with him when I was coming up younger, earlier in my career. So Scully knows me. He knows everything about me. We've been in the ring together. So he knows my strengths and he knows my weaknesses. So we had the chance to work on all of those things.

And I'm also working on all of my strengths because he knows what they are but to work on my weaknesses. And I think on the 28th everybody will see a total package. And it was a good thing, not a great thing, but the fight didn't go past the second round so I really didn't break a sweat. So we got a chance to get back into camp and go back to work. So we got right back to work and I'm going to be in even greater shape this fight right here.

Q
And speaking of the abbreviated version of the fight, it didn't last long, but were there any things that you picked up during the fight that you can use for the rematch or was this a situation that you feel Bernard kind of did everything that you thought he would?

C. Dawson
No. I think he did everything we thought he was going to. He started head butting early. He started all of his dirty tactics. He kept jumping on my back. Everything he did that night we expected. Even when he hit the canvas we knew he wasn't getting back up. We knew he was going to fake it until he made it, and that's what happened.

Q
Both of your responses kind of segue way into my questions. There was a point where-Bernard's been called-some of his tactics have come into question in the past, and you tried to put your forearm, I guess, into his neck. I guess my question is was that forearm a response to something he did or was it just your way of sending a message that you can change tactics and fight anyway that you need to?

C. Dawson
Actually you're the first person that point that out, but that was a little bit of both. I wanted to let him know that I wasn't going to put up with his tactics all night and I wanted let him know I'm strong, "I'm too strong for you," and I think he felt that.

Q
We've been talking a lot over here about Nathan Cleverly, and there's obviously the potential for a unification fight if you or Bernard, whoever is the winner of this fight, takes on Nathan. Frank Warren, the promoter in the UK has promised that. Is that something; that Nathan Cleverly is on your radar?

C. Dawson
The only person on my radar right now is Bernard Hopkins.

Q
I know you don't want to look too far ahead of yourself, I suppose, but is he a big enough name now in this division to be mentioned alongside yourself and Bernard and Beibut Shumenov and people like that?

C. Dawson
Honestly, I've never seen him fight. I've heard his name a few times, but I never seen him fight. So I don't know much about him. But like I said, my whole focus is on Bernard Hopkins.

Wherever me and Gary Shaw come to after this fight is where we come to. So whatever we have to do, but right now it's Bernard Hopkins.

Q
You've addressed this a little bit, but you know often in fights fighters start off the first couple of rounds as sort of a feeling out round. You've had that almost two rounds already. Are you going to be able to sort of dispense with that learning what you've already learned from the first fight, as short as it was?

C. Dawson
Yeah. I mean I feel like even the first round is going to be the third round because I think Bernard got to feel me out a little bit. I got to feel him out a little bit. So I think this for him makes for a great fight because we've been there. With only two rounds we've both been in there with each other and we know what to expect.

Q
If you look at even the fights that he's officially lost, except for the first fight he had with Roy Jones and his first fight, he hasn't really-the fights that he's lost, by decision, have been kind of controversial. Do you want to sort of put an exclamation point on your performance and win in a very clear-cut fashion for your legacy?

C. Dawson
Yes, sir. That's the goal. That's my plan. I want to go out there. I want to beat him. If it goes 12 rounds, I want to win 11 or 12 of those rounds. I'm looking to go out and I'm looking to beat Bernard in a great fashion, a fashion that no one can say, "Oh but this, but that. It was a close fight." I don't even want a close fight. I want to beat him decisively.

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